Celebrating 15 years, and we’re ready for the future

By Tamara Steiner on May 7, 2018

Tamara Steiner for websiteHappy Birthday to us! This month, we begin our 16th year as Clayton’s (and now Concord’s) community newspaper, and it’s impossible not to crow just a bit.

Our first issue was May 9, 2003 and the cover story was Art and Wine. There were three of us—me, Kim Rutledge and Jill Bedecarré—in a tiny office in Pleasant Hill. Each of us knew a different piece of the newspaper business and together we knew enough.

When the truck carrying 5,000 copies of that first issue rolled up in front of the post office, Jill and I happy danced down the middle of Center St. “It feels like we just gave birth to the same baby,” Jill said.

Now, 360 issues, 8,000 pages and more than 9,000,000 words later, we are still here—but different.

At the end of that first year, Kim went on to an editor’s spot with the Oakland Tribune, then to graduate school and Sacramento. In 2007 Jill died of breast cancer. And I still miss her every day.
Today our staff includes sports editor Jay Bedecarré, who jumped in to help right after Jill died. Pete Cruz took over as graphic designer in 2003.  Pamela Wiesendanger, our client support guru and calendar editor joined us in 2010. Our copy editor and staff writer, Bev Britton has been with us for more than five years. And we are lucky enough to have some of the best freelance journalists in the business always ready to help us out.

Me?  I put it all together twice a month and in between I sell the advertising that pays the bills.

And it’s been (mostly) fun and always rewarding. The Pioneer has been called everything from the “glue” of the community to a “dirty, commie liberal rag” (that was an honor). We’ve celebrated births and mourned deaths. We’ve covered the sad and the glorious. Now, after a week or so reflecting on the past, we’ve turned our faces to the future. We’re ready.

For a look-back at the most important stories of the last 15 years, go to our online issue and turn to pages 10-11

Previous post:

Next post: